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Local Memo: Google Will Soon Launch Visual Brand Profiles in Search

 

In this week’s post, learn about new Visual Brand Profiles coming to Google search, X’s plan to eliminate post likes, and the reaction to the launch of Google’s AI Overviews.

 

Google Will Soon Launch Visual Brand Profiles in Search

 

The News

 

At this week’s Marketing Live Keynote, Google announced that it will be rolling out Visual Brand Profiles (VBP?) in search results to highlight key merchant information in one place and better connect brands with the shoppers seeking them out. 


According to Google, VBPs are inspired by local Google Business Profiles in Search and Maps and will “spotlight engaging product and brand imagery, videos and customer reviews” as well as “current deals, promotions and shipping policies front and center — in one convenient place for shoppers.”

 

Example of Google's Visual Business Profile for a makeup brand featuring women of color applying makeup.

Courtesy of Google

 

Why This Matters 

 

Google has not indicated how much direct control brands will have over their Visual Brand Profiles other than much of the information will come from Google Merchant Center — as well as Google’s Shopping Graph.

 

This means brands will need to take extra care to ensure their Merchant Center information is accurate and up to date and that expired deals, promotions, and services are scrubbed from sites in a timely manner.


What is not known is how Google will source information for brands that do not use Merchant Center or have an ecomm presence (i.e. Discount & Outlet Stores). Will Google Business Profiles play a role? Or will brands have the opportunity to “claim” these new profiles and provide basic information? We’ll have to wait and see…

 

X to Confirms Plan to Hide Post Likes from All Users

 

The News

 

X engineer Haofei Wang confirmed to X News Daily something that Elon Musk said he was considering at a Morgan Stanley event earlier this month: X will soon be making likes private. 

 

Though Musk said the move was intended to “greatly improve readability”, Wang’s post notes, the move is intended to free users from concerns about liking controversial or edgy content, thereby increasing overall user activity. 

 

 

Why This Matters 

 

X has already been under scrutiny for poor content moderation which has led to a mass exodus of advertisers and high profile users. This move will likely raise more concerns as it could further facilitate the spread of negative behaviors and radicalization by creating a safe space for liking divisive material without public visibility.

 

Google’s AI Overviews Off to a Rocky Launch.

 

The News

 

The response to the launch of AI Overviews in Google search results hasn’t been positive so far, with some decrying results so bad that they are actively eroding trust in Google. 

 

While recommendations for “foods names that end with me”’ (none of which actually end in “me”) can be quite fun to laugh at, home remedy recommendations for appendix pain can be downright dangerous.

 

 

The most telling indicator that negative sentiment is widespread may be the inclusion of a “Turn off” filter appearing in search results for “Google AI Overview.” 

Google AI Overview Turn Off on Chrome

 

Google has not yet responded to concerns. However, a LinkedIn post by an ex-Google employee seems to indicate the launch may have been rushed out of a panic “that they are getting left behind” in AI search.

 

Why This Matters 

 

Though AI Overviews are not yet widespread in local search results, bad answers to local questions could affect visibility in search results and drive customers elsewhere. 

 

We’ve already seen some local AI Overview results that, although they include an expanded 5-pack(!), don’t include a link to the finder map, greatly reducing the opportunity for a business outside the top five results to be seen.

Michael Snow

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